I play the bass in a band. We are playing Ray LaMontagne's "A Falling Through." The chords for the intro and verses are C/G and F, but our guitarist prefers playing C Cmaj7 Am and F. The problem is that the A sounds out of place in that progression on the bass. Any ideas on how to resolve this? I have tried two options that sound OK: (1) Ignoring the Am and simply playing an C and F, or (2) replacing the A with its 5th (F#). Better ideas from more experienced bassists out there? Thanks.

  • 1
    The fifth of A isn't F# - it's E. – Tim Nov 6 '17 at 18:56
  • randy H. if you're not so confident with note names it's OK to give fret numbers in the question too, then we can correct any mistakes :) – Some_Guy Nov 6 '17 at 19:51
  • Also disagree about the C/G. The bass first plays C, so the chord cannot be 'slash G'. – Tim Nov 7 '17 at 7:45

First you should decide if you don't want to stick to the original. The intro is pretty dominated by this bass melody:

X: 1
M: C
K: Cmaj
L: 1/8
V:C name="Bass" clef=bass-8
c,,3 g,, b,,c,b,,c, | f,,3 f,, b,,c,b,,c, | c,,3 g,, b,,c,b,,c, | f,,3 a,, b,,c,d,c, :|

That would still fit pretty well over C - Cmaj7 | am - F – the am would actually be am/F which is equivalent to Fmaj7 and the F would rather be something like b7♭5, which may look weird but is actually not unreasonable harmonically (the latter fulfilling a bit of a dominant role).

Playing an A or even F♯ is certainly also possible, but both would lead to a sound that's significantly different from the original's “cotton wool country” feeling, A pointing more towards folk/rock and F♯ more toward jazz. Only you and the band can decide whether that's what you want.

  • +1 for half-dim reference. Also good to note that relative major/minor's can be used as substitution because of their common tones. As long as the band covers those common tones, playing an F# should be fine. It will sound a little different but with added flavor. – jazzboy Nov 11 '17 at 9:15

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